Experts on TV shows and websites often say the best way to get a job is to make your résumé stand out and then apply for lots of positions.
This tactic sometimes works, but it is far from the most efficient way to land a job. If you want a better job faster, the wisest thing you can do is talk with your friends. Here is a beginner's guide to networking your way into your dream job.
- Get your résumé ready to send out
- Draft an email explaining to friends that you are looking for a new job, and ask if they know of any openings at the companies where they work. Send the email individually to friends and former colleagues calling them by name — it will seem much more personal and be much more likely to get you responses than sending out a mass email.
- Calling friends also works, as does sending private messages in social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Make sure to contact friendly former colleagues who have changed jobs too — they're often the most likely to be in a position to help you.
- When friends reply asking for a copy of your résumé, send it to them immediately.
- When friends put you in touch with other friends who might be of assistance, make sure to thank them and follow up to tell them what happened.
- When friends advise you to submit a formal application for a job, make sure to include on the application the name of the employee referring you. Being referred for a job makes you significantly more likely to get an interview, and the person who referred you might receive a bonus too.* Remember to tell your friends and anyone else who helped you, "Thank you." Send thank you notes to everyone who interviews you too. Your etiquette reflects back on the people who refer you for jobs, so make sure you make them look good.
Because of the number of résumés received by Human Resources departments and hiring managers, the best way to make your résumé stand out is to have it hand delivered by a friend on the inside. Networking doesn't have to mean cold calling strangers or accomplishing anything difficult. Just talking with your friends and the friends they put you in touch with is job hunting smarter. Happy hunting!
Carissa Doshi is a business writer and the president of Gen Y Media Group. She gives career advice and blogs about her experiences on www.carissadoshi.com. You can also follow @CarissaDoshi on Twitter.